Why the grassroots are the key to any recognition system

June 1st, 2020

The grassroots are essential to any recognition system. In fact, the grassroots are the key to any system, especially the sport system. Take away our clubs at the community level and the sport system is nothing but a house of cards. The stronger the local level programming, however, and the better the results at all levels in the athlete development vertical.

The same can be said of the BC Sports Hall of Fame and our best efforts to recognize the most impactful athletes, coaches, officials, media and other leaders in sport in British Columbia. And that’s why we’re working so hard to broaden the network of advocates of sport history, heritage and culture and to create as collaborative, integrated and dynamic a sport recognition system as possible in BC. The standards of excellence – and inclusion – associated with the BC Sports Hall of Fame depend on it.

It comes to mind as we approach the June 30th deadline for new nominations for Honoured Members for induction as individuals and teams into the BC Sports Hall. That Class of 2021 will be as good as our network of supporters make it.

To that end, we are already in the process of confirming our Selection Committee for the Class of 2021, chaired by long-time sport system leader Wendy Pattenden. Wendy, as many of you know, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific. She is a former national champion in tennis, touring professional, former tennis coach, high performance sport development professional and captain of Canada’s Federation Cup women’s national team, not to mention long-time supporter of Sport for Life and other key organizations in Canadian sport. Obviously, Wendy’s background makes her exquisitely suited to follow in the big footsteps of former Selection Committee Chair Ken Olynyk of Kamloops, B.C. She will work with a Selection Committee comprised of the widest possible cross-section of Honoured Members, Trustees, Media and sport historians this fall when it comes time to review the nominations and choose our Class of 2021.

Yet make one thing clear: The Selection Committee can only be as good as the quality of nominations we receive for consideration.

And that’s where the grassroots and the entire “vertical” of sport come into play on behalf of the BC Sports Hall of Fame:

  • Local clubs that have been the community hubs for the province’s best athletes, coaches and officials;
  • Districts, regional associations and Provincial Sport Organizations that have benefitted from those same sport champions over the years;
  • National Sport Federations with strong roots in British Columbia;
  • Multi-Sport Organizations, including viaSport, Sport BC/Promotion Plus/KidSport, the BC Games Society, Canadian Sport Institute Pacific, SportMedBC, BC High School Sport and others.

We are looking for our friends in the sport system to step up and ensure the most deserving influencers of sport history in B.C. are not only nominated, but nominated with an exclamation mark; with the compelling nominations and credentials that make their stories come to life.

On our end, we will also ensure that we get additional support from our own “grassroots”, the more than 40 local, regional and sport-specific halls of fame that are such an important fabric of sport history, heritage and culture in British Columbia. To that end, we are calling out to:

  • Local, regional and sport-specific halls, museums and galleries, ostensibly the founding members of the emerging BC Council of Sports Halls; they are literally our feeder system and given how almost every story of podium results, success and leadership begins at the local level, they are essential conduits in our nomination process;
  • Unaffiliated sport historians and authors who have researched and chronicled some of the most inspiring stories in BC sport;
  • Members and former members of the media in newspapers, radio, television and now digital/social who have had a front row seat for many of the most amazing stories in BC sport;
  • The Council of Chairs — the former Chairs of the BC Sports Hall of Fame — who bring considerable historical perspective to the evolution of sport in the province;
  • The BC Sports Hall of Fame Foundation Board of Directors, who join our Board of Trustees as the biggest advocates of good story-telling to help inspire the next generation of young British Columbians to move their bodies, to play in their earliest years and to benefit from the fun, fitness and friendship that is organized sport at its best.

And finally, we look to our own existing Honoured Members. The saying “it takes one to know one” arguably applies here as well and that’s why we are always thrilled with such peer nominations.

Add it all up – and throw in the highest standards of sport achievement and the important considerations for inclusiveness, diversity and all sports, and support from all of these building blocks of sport and sport history – and we should benefit from another outstanding class, the Class of 2021.

Remember: Nomination Day is June 30th, 2020!